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Career Clusters


Career Clusters™ are broad groupings of occupations/career specialties, organized by common knowledge and skills required for career success. There are 16 Career Clusters™ and 79 related pathways (sub groupings of occupations/career specialties). Supported by Carl D. Perkins 2006 legislation, Career Clusters™ are an organizing tool for curriculum design, school guidance, and a framework for seamless transition to career and college.

Career Clusters™ link what students learn in school with knowledge and skills needed for success in career and college. They identify programs of study that connect secondary school with two- and four-year colleges, graduate school, and the workplace so students can link what they learn in school and what they can do in the future.

All NC CTE courses align to the Career Clusters™. Each course is placed in a Career Cluster based on a set of knowledge and skills common to all careers in the entire Career Cluster. Industry-validated knowledge and skills statements of student expectations identify what the student should know and be able to do. They prepare students for success in a broad range of occupations/career specialties. Some CTE courses cross over all 16 Career Clusters™. The 16 Career Clusters™ are: 

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture &Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Education &Training
  • Finance
  • Government & Public Administration
  • Health Science
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

In North Carolina, Career Clusters™ are supported by eight program areas, with each area having school-based, work-based, or community-based learning opportunities.

  • Agricultural Education
  • Business, Finance, and Information Technology Education
  • Career Development
  • Family and Consumer Science Education
  • Health Science Education
  • Marketing and Entrepreneurship Education
  • Technology Engineering and Design Education
  • Trade and Industrial Education

Combined with other academic offerings, Career and Technical Education assists all enrollees with career goals and high school graduation requirements. Students are to have a career development plan outlining courses to be taken to meet a tentative career objective and obtain a high school diploma.

In addition to the Orange County Schools pathways which represent courses taken either at one of the high schools or through Virtual Public School, Orange County Schools in conjunction with Alamance Community College and Durham Technical Community College offer several certified pathways which are shown below.

Click HERE to access an interactive online version of the North Carolina Career Clusters Guide.